California Prop 65 Update for Businesses
Some think California Proposition 65 is only for businesses in California, but that statement is not true.
Originally known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, California’s Proposition 65, was enacted in 1986. It is intended to help Californians make informed decisions about protecting themselves from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.
30 years after Cal Prop was first enforced, changes will go into effect on August 30, 2018!
Right now, any company that does business in California is required to provide a “clear and reasonable” warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to any of the 900+ chemicals (this list will continue to grow).
The list of chemicals contains a wide range of naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals that include additives or ingredients in pesticides, common household products, food, drugs, dyes, or solvents, per The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA).
By informing people in California about the chemicals, they can make informed decisions about their exposures to these chemicals.
Guidance for providing a clear and reasonable warning is available in OEHHA’s warning regulations.
What are the major changes to Cal Prop 65?
Currently, most Prop 65 warnings simply state that a chemical is present that causes cancer or reproductive harm, but they do not identify the chemical or provide specific information about how a person may be exposed or ways to reduce or eliminate exposure. With the new requirements, warnings will have to say that the product “can expose” uses to a chemical(s).
The new warning includes these three elements:
- The name of at least one listed chemical that prompted the warning.
- Link to the state’s Prop 65 internet site, which includes additional information on the health effects of listed chemicals and ways to reduce or eliminate exposure to them.
- A triangular yellow and black warning symbol (can be white and black only if the label for the product does not use the color yellow).
California state regulators require all facilities where the public is exposed to chemicals that cause cancer or birth defects to update their signage to match the new regulations.
If a product is found to have the list of chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer, the warning must now state:
- WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including [name of one or more chemicals], which is [are] known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov
If a business fails to comply with California Prop 65 regulations, they can receive a penalty as high as $2,500 per violation, per day.
Can a business place the Proposition 65 warning on a Safety Data Sheet (SDS)?
Safety Data Sheets (SDS) are outside the scope of this regulation, as OEHHA cannot prescribe the content of forms under the authority of a federal or other state agency. While SDS may be used to provide occupational exposure warnings, they are not a safe harbor warning method for other exposure types such as consumer product or environmental exposures covered by Article 6.
For more answers to commonly asked questions about Proposition 65, visit: https://www.p65warnings.ca.gov/sites/default/files/art_6_business_qa.pdf